Standing tall between the picturesque town of Idyllwild and the vast Coachella Valley, with thirteen peaks over 10,000 feet high, are the breathtaking San Jacinto Mountains. This mountain range spans two watersheds in Riverside County – the Santa Ana River watershed and the Whitewater River watershed. The lush Fall foliage and awe-inspiring views create a beautiful backdrop for an autumn hike.
For the best up close views of the season’s colors, check out Deer Springs Trail off Highway 243 near Idyllwild. The Black Oak trees that line the trail have leaves that turn golden at this time of year.
For a panoramic view, take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, a scenic tram ride to Mountain Station in Mt. San Jacinto State Park. From here, there are access points to more than 50 miles of trails that vary in difficulty.
The Long Valley Discovery Trail is a great beginner-level trail. Easy enough for kids, the trail offers views of the changing fall colors plus nature trail posts with information on the area.
For the most strenuous workout, start early and tackle the San Jacinto Peak on an 11-mile round trip hike. The forest is filled with many species of pine tree including Sugar, Jeffrey, Lodgepole and Ponderosa with its distinctive vanilla/butterscotch smell.
Any of these hikes will provide a seasonal experience that will not only you get in the Fall Spirit, but will help burn off the calories from all those Pumpkin Spice Lattes!